with Lynne Schmidt:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
This is always such a strange question for me to answer. As a kiddo, before I knew how to write and read, I used to write the most brilliant books. But then when I’d go back to them, they were all just scribbles.
So once I started to write and read, I began writing storybooks – The Adventures of Buttercup! (There was a new pony down the road named Buttercup.)
There are photos of me in high school at cross country meets with my handy dandy notebook, hahah.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Lynne: Oh man. There are so many – Joan Kwon Glass and Lannie Stabile help encourage me to evaluate my trauma and family dynamics.
I’ve taken a workshop with Andrea Gibson that blew my mind.
There are so many collections and influences it’s hard to narrow down!
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Lynne: I grew up poor in Shepherd, Michigan. My parents were less than ideal and I moved out when I was still in high school. This influences a LOT of my writing. My second chapbook, On Becoming a Role Model, explores a lot of the mental health and long term effects of some of these events.
Travels away from home saved me, helped me grow, helped me find myself and accept myself in a way that makes my former therapists proud of me, haha.
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?
Lynne: Right now – Dead Dog Poems. I lost my Baxter in 2017 and it shattered my world. From the moment I got the terminal diagnosis, I didn’t know what I was going to do, how I was going to survive without him. I wrote the collection in 2018 because I needed the grief to go somewhere. I sobbed when it won the 2020 New Women’s Award because it helps make Baxter immortal.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Lynne: Like I answered earlier, writing has always been with me. But it wasn’t until 2017/2018 I really started writing and submitting poetry. Prior to that I was working on my Young adult and Memoir.
I think the first few acceptance letters really helped, because it solidified that oh hey – maybe what I write isn’t complete garbage.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Lynne: Snowboarding, hiking, kayaking, hanging out with Kyla, Enyo, and TaylorSwift. I’ve also been playing a lot of disc golf.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Yes – please please please pre-order Dead Dog Poems!
On Becoming a Role Model is still for sale, too:https://www.thirtywestph.com/shop/onbecomingarolemodel
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
From my poem, “Sunday Morning”
i’m already holding cancer between my hands
as though it were a weed that i could pluck away
and not an invasive species
that took root and flourished,
devouring everything i loved in its path
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Lynne: Probably Gabrielle Byrne and Valerie Cole. Gabby and I met at the PNWA Conference a million years ago. She’s pushed me so hard to not give up on myself and my writing over the years. Valerie I met on Twitter and she has cheered for me so much over the years. I appreciate their friendship so, so much.